History of creation of the Institute

Ilia Vekua Sukhumi Institute of Physics and Technology (SIPT) was founded in 1950 as result of join two top-secret independent scientific research centers “A” and “G”. Setting up the high-technology unique center in Georgia was related to the creation of the first Soviet atom bomb. The Institute was establishing in participation with famous German scientists ( nobel laureate Gustav Ludwig Hertz, Manfred Von Ardenne, Max Steenbeck, Pieter Thiessen, Max Volmer, Nikolaus Riehl, etc.).

The major topics assigned to Scientific-Research Center “ A”  (Scientific leader-Manfred von Ardenne , the outstanding engineer-physicist included: 
• Development of techniques for electromagmetic separation of uranium isotopes and mass-spectrometry of heavy atoms;
• Work on the improvement of electron microscopes and participation in the organization of their production;
• Development of ancillary equipment for nuclear research;
• Development of techniques for separation of isotopes by diffusion.

The major topics assigned to Scientific-Research Center “ G“ (Scientific leader - Gustav Ludwig Hertz, the outstanding German physicist,  the Nobel prize winner) included:
• Development of techniques for separation of uranium isotopes;
• Development of techniques for producing heavy water;
• Development of techniques for analyzing uranium isotopes upon minor enrichments;
• Techniques for accurate measurement of neutrons energy.

Several laboratories were set up in the Institute, where together with German scientists Soviet specialists worked:
• Laboratory of isotope separation by gravitation (leader - Manfred Von Ardenne;)
• Laboratory of physical chemistry (leader - Prof. Peter Thiessen);
• Laboratory for separation of isotopes by a centrifuge (leader - Dr. M. Steenbeck);
• Laboratory for separation of isotopes by diffusion in solvent’s film (leader -  D.P. Andreev);
• Laboratory to study the impact of radioactivity on living organisms (leader - Dr. Menke);
• Laboratory of mass-spectrometry (leader - Dr. Schütze);
• Laboratory for separation of a sublimate by diffusion against steam flow (leader Dr. Hertz);
• Laboratory for corrosion problems (leader – Dr. V.A. Karzhavin);
• Laboratory for tubular ceramic filters (leader – V.N. Ermin);
• Laboratory for measuring equipment (leader – Dr. Hartmann).

In 1948-1949, the main tasks assigned to Sukhumi institutes were implemented and introduced at different plants of the USSR with the participation of specialists from SIPT.
After the test of first atomic bomb in the USSR in August 1949, German specialists were gradually taken out from secret works and transferred to the development of non-secret topics.
From 1955 to 1958 German specialists started to return to their homeland, but the research institute SIPT – best equipped by that time in the USSR and staffed with the specialists of the highest qualification . The local specialists that had been trained by the German scientists and gained rich experience in the solution of complex scientific and technological problems made further a great contribution to the development of different branches of science and technology and contributed to the creation of the SIPT’s high authority among the scientific world.

The Further Development of the Institute
During many years of successfully activities, the main directions of the scientific work of the Institute are the following basic fields: 

1. Plasma Physics

1.1. Quasistationary processes
In the fifties of last century, in connection with creation of the thermonuclear weapon, SIPT has begun intensive investigations of toroidal plasma. The task set was to study the interactions between the high frequency (HF) field of the Alfven frequency range with magnetized plasma. On the basis of an experimental research it has been made scientifically proved conclusions:
-   Heating and stabilization of a plasma stream in magnetized plasma with introduction of additional energy by means of a high-frequency electromagnetic field;
-   Established collective interaction of protons and heavy ions in magnetized plasma;
-   In 1961, acceleration of heavy ions in the plasma diode by means a stream electrons.

1.2. Pulsed Processes
Works in this direction have begun with studying of the phenomena occurring at explosion of electro-conductors. During the studies of gas-plasma in Θ- and Z-pinches on relatively small installations, occurrence of “space-periodic structures” was discovered and in the Z-pinch the effect of “fractional acceleration of Plasmon” was observed. This phenomenon has confirmed American scientist G. Makmilan and named effect of electro-dynamic acceleration Kvatskhava-Makmilan.
As a result of basic research and in a consequence on institute installations dense n= (2÷4)1016cm-3 high-temperature plasma (TE= 350000 K, Ti=1,6.106 K) has been received, which existence proceeded (10÷100) ns.

1.3. Open aerodynamic trap
On the basis of the device combined pinch, at SIPT has been created open aerodynamic trap GDLKP-2M with following parameters: energy – 10MJ, pinch – 50cm, the mirror ratio  ≤ 100, magnetic induction – 15T. The research program is intended for creation of the powerful neutron generator and studying of problems of radiating resistance of materials.

1.4. Plasma Focus
On plasma-focus installations KPF-1 and KPF-3, created in SIPT, have been received interesting results:
-    at the energy of accumulator of 100 kJ in D-D plasma the neutron yield of N~1011 n-discharge was obtained;
-    The energy dependence of the neutron yield N~E2~J4 tends to scaling;
-    Addition of lithium vapor to D-D plasma leads to an increase of the neutron yield by a factor of 5÷6;
-    The obtained X-rays have a dose rate of about  1012 Rad/s in the energy range (20÷150) KeV with duration of 50 ns.
In 1991-1992 a new powerful experimental facility KPF-4 was built, which capacity was 0,2÷1,5 MJ.

2. Physics of High-Current Electron and lone Injectors and Accelerators
The first high-current sources at SIPT were created in 1948-1949 to solve a problem of separation of heavy nuclei isotopes under the direction of Prof.  M. von Ardenne and  Prof. M. Steenbeck.
On the basis of powerful electron injectors was created direct function and resonance high-current electron accelerators.

3. Solid-State Physics
The works in this field include many aspects of research of metals, semiconductors and dielectrics. The basic results of research is:
-   The  first  germanium  and  silicon single crystals in the USSR were obtained at SIPT;
-    The phenomenon of instant crystallization of all weight of the fused metal, it was repeated in space during the experiment, named "Melting":

4. Thermoelectricity
In 1962 jointly with "Kurchatov Institute" and others the first in the world thermoelectric reactor-converters "Romashka"(0,5kw) was created.
At institute thermoelectric the instrument making developed in two directions:
a)    Working out and batch production of the powerful nuclear thermoelectric generator for space;
b)    Working out of the thermoelectric generator (TEG) using radio isotope fuel for civil and military use.

5. Thermo-emission
It is developed high-temperature cesium-plasma thermo-emission generator which is the basic knot for a space thermoissue reactor-converters.
It is developed two types of the electro-generating channel: single-element and multi-element. Powerful thermo-emission nuclear power installations "TOPAZ" and "Yenisei" have been accordingly developed for space.

6. Instrument Engineering
According to a wide program, at SIPT works were carried out on creation of various physical, measuring, analytical, control instruments intended for equipping in-house experimental installations and stands and delivery to many customers.
Except a mass-spectrometer, a beta-spectrometer, an oje-spectroscope and a microscope, at institute the equipment for diagnostics and measurement of parameters of hot plasma is created. The electronic control system for space reactors which and works today at university of Albuquerque at stand "TOPAZ" is created.

SIPT in Tbilisi

After some military actions in Abkhazia (1992-1993) most of the personnel of the Institute had to leave Sukhumi for Tbilisi. As decided by the Government of Georgia, in December 1993 SIPT settled down in Tbilisi.
Valter Kashia, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor, famous specialist of thermo-emission converters physics headed the Institute during 2001-2005. In those years SIPT renewed collaboration with former Soviet Union leading institutions and performed joint works on thermo-emission converters physics and radiation safety for thermo-emission reactors-converter.

Since 2006 Dr. Guram Bokuchava has been the director of SIPT. Same year, scientific-technology direction was created in the Institute, with appropriate scientific-structural units, involvement in the international scientific researches and projects was increased respectively.
In 2006, the Institute was granted the status of a legal entity of public law (LEPL).

The conception of the institute covers wide spectrum of science and technology:
• Nuclear physics, radiation materials science and technologies;
• Solid body physics, semiconductors and superconductors physics;
• Semiconducting, thermoelectric and optoelectronic instrument-making;
• Quantum radiophysics, laser, electric and electronic systems;
• Cryogenic technique and technologies, nanomaterials and nanotechnologies;
• Chemical technologies, new compositions and ceramic materials (i.e. On the basis of local raw materials);
• Environmental protection problems, i.e., researching radioactive contamination, monitoring and methods to reduce and non-proliferate pollution through the environment.
• Expert works.

Contact information

Mindeli St.7 , Tbilisi, 0186, Georgia
+(995 32) 2320960
+(995 32) 2320961